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Vegan stuffed pumpkin


For the pumpkin

  • 1 medium-sized pumpkin (about 1kg)
  • 100g wild rice
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms
  • 30g pecans, toasted
  • 1 large pack parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Olive oil

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 knuckle of peeled ginger (about 1")
  • Pomegranate seeds, to serve

This vegan stuffed pumpkin is a filling blend of nutty, fruity and rich autumnal flavours. Just perfect for when you want a meat-free Halloween, are entertaining vegans or can’t get hold of RSPCA Assured ingredients. Get creative with your presentation for an impressive Halloween centrepiece! 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
  • Cut the top off the pumpkin and use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds and fibrous innards. Put the pumpkin on a baking tray, pat the inside dry with kitchen roll then rub with 2 tbsp of oil inside and out, and season well.
  • Roast in the centre of the oven for 45 mins or until just tender, with the ‘lid’ on the side.
  • Follow the pack instructions for cooking your wild rice, then drain, rinse and set aside.
    Dice the fennel bulb into pea-sized pieces, then squeeze over no more than half of the lemon juice (save the rest for the dressing).
  • Meanwhile, dry toast the pecans in a frying pan so that they begin to colour, then remove from the heat and roughly chop.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in the frying pan and fry the fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Once the seeds begin to become fragrant and pop, stir in one crushed garlic clove.
  • Remove and discard the tough stems from the mushrooms and break the caps into pieces, then sauté them together with the fennel. Remove from the heat and stir through the cooked rice along with your chopped pecans, then stir in the chopped parsley and season to taste.
  • Pack the mixture into the cooked pumpkin and return it to the oven for 10-15 mins.
  • While the pumpkin is finishing up in the oven, use a blender to blitz the ginger, tahini, maple syrup, remaining lemon juice and garlic, and a dash of lukewarm water to make a smooth dressing.
  • Serve the pumpkin drizzled with the tahini dressing and topped with pomegranate seeds on a bed of steamed kale.
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